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CHAIRMAN STATEMENT IN RESPONSE TO SHRIMPERS TRUST STATEMENT

21 March 2021

On Saturday the Shrimpers Trust issued a statement which can be read here.

Southend United Chairman Ron Martin has today issued the following statement:

"At the last meeting of all supporter groups we had a positive exchange. At the end the club suggested we could hold weekly or fortnightly zoom calls. The invisible virus has meant fans are invisible too and this is one way to stay in touch. Including when normality returns.

"Engaging with the supporters is one privilege of my position and they have been desperately missed. I know I get it in the neck when we lose but nobody should ever think it isn’t hurting me. Not just me but all at the club, including the players who are a tight group.

"When Mark arrived I wanted to change the culture and we have made great strides towards that. It is not something we can do overnight but the work ethic has returned. We have had to rebuild and that will continue.

"Mark has been able to sign 17 new players, with two loanees returning. That is a lot, too many in truth, to bed in. We have seen improvement but there is a long way to go.

"Of course we are all desperately concerned with the league position and all fighting to prevent that.

"Sharing those thoughts and actions with fans is welcome. The first step is to meet the supporter groups again, hopefully Thursday this week, to discuss the structure. However, we envisage an hourly zoom call.

"Supporters, as well as supporter group representatives, would be on the call and be given the floor to ask a variety of questions about the club and receive answers directly without interpretation from others. We’ll take the lead from the supporter groups whether meetings should be held weekly or fortnightly and the club's representatives will include not just me but the First Team Manger, Head of Recruitment, Academy Manager together with back room personnel (finance and commercial), all on a rotational basis, so there is ongoing transparency.

"I do not know of any other club that runs a forum as we are planning. Everybody has become so accustomed to using zoom that it should prove a useful way to communicate the facts. I accept everybody is entitled to their own opinion but not their own facts.

"Social media often distorts the position so supporters understanding their from the mouths of those running their club should, I hope, help. Maybe a better understanding may assist to dilute the blame culture, we are after all on the same side.”


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